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The University of Reading is renowned for its archaeological research: it is ranked 1st in the UK for research quality and research outputs in Archaeology (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of the latest REF 2021).

Number 1 in the UK for research

Research excellence

The Department of Archaeology has an international reputation for the quality of its research and the excellence of its teaching, and is at the forefront of social and scientific research on issues of global cultural and environmental importance and contemporary relevance.

The University of Reading is ranked 1st in the UK for research quality and research outputs in Archaeology (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of the latest REF 2021).


You'll benefit from our wide range of facilities and research collections, including dedicated laboratories for climate and environment research, zooarchaeology, palaeopathology, isotopic analysis, geoarchaeology, and GIS analysis.

You will also have access to the University's Chemical Analysis Facility, Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, and our on-campus museums.

Read about our extensive research facilities

Supportive community

The Department of Archaeology fosters a friendly, supportive community and our staff have a reputation for being accessible and approachable. Staff and PhD students meet for research seminars and informal lunch hour discussion groups, and also collaborate on research papers and excavations.

"I have really enjoyed the reading group for staff and PhD students, which also included museum trips. We all share ideas, and it helped me develop my own research. My supervisor is also always there for academic and careers advice."

Lindsay Banfield – Archaeology PhD student

The success and wellbeing of our PhD students is very important to us. You'll benefit from feedback from your supervisors and other members of staff through regular activities built into the PhD programme, ensuring that you are on track and fully supported.

Staff and students also come together to work on different projects and initiatives in our Department and across the School. A recent example is the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science working group on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, where students and staff work together to address issues of equality and inclusion in our workspaces, and in higher education more broadly.

Our students also form a supportive doctoral research community across the year-groups, including postdoctoral researchers. They share information and ideas and develop important collegial relationships as they progress through their studies.


The demand for trained and skilled archaeologists is set to grow exponentially over the next decade, due to a high number of large scale infrastructure and investment projects planned on a national scale both in the UK and abroad.

Our PhD students go on to work in academia as postdoctoral researchers and lecturers, and also quickly find employment in industries such as heritage agencies, museums, professional archaeology, environmental and geoarchaeology, forensic companies, government organisations and media.

"Reading is the perfect foundation for my academic career, equipping me with the skills, expertise and contacts to establish me as a serious and productive scholar in the field of Early Medieval Archaeology."

Matt Austin – PhD Archaeology

PhD conference

Life in the Department

Join a vibrant and supportive community, where you'll be encouranged to develop your research interests.

Supervisor and student discussing on a report

How we support you

You'll receive support from the Department as well as the Doctoral and Researcher College, which is the University of Reading's hub for all doctoral activity.
Digging out an artifact

Our stories

Read about our inspiring staff and students, and learn how our archaeological research feeds directly into your studies.
Athena SWAN Silver Award